For Kurds of Iraq, What Kind of Independence - If Any? By Yaroslav Trofimov – Wall Street Journal
Two years ago, when independence for Iraqi Kurds was a long-term strategy rather than an immediate pursuit, the head of the University of Kurdistan pondered what kind of new state they desire.
Kurdistan’s model should be Montenegro, which amicably separated from Serbia in 2006, rather than Kosovo, whose violent secession remains unrecognized by Belgrade or by the United Nations, said Khaled Salih, the university’s vice chancellor at the time.
“It would be much safer for Kurdistan to have recognition of Iraq first, which would also make becoming part of the international community much easier,” he explained. “Without that we have to fight first to separate, and then to fight again to get recognition. Just look at Kosovo.”
Now, in the wake of Monday’s controversial independence referendum, in which 93% of voters backed a breakup with Baghdad, even a Kosovo-like separation seems like a best-case rather than a worst-case scenario for Iraqi Kurds.
Kosovo, at least, had the full support of ethnic kin across the border in Albania…